Archive for Vests

Hit and run…

Project: Anorak vest
Pattern: Simplicity 2153, View F
Size: 12, altered
Fabric: Water resistant mystery fabric from stash

James 1:2-3 says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

I’m a really joyous girl these days and reaping perseverance by leaps and bounds!

The house is on the market and cleaner than it has been in years.  I had gall bladder surgery last Wednesday, and the knee surgeon wants me to have a knee replacement ASAP. He does not, repeat, DOES NOT want me to wait until we move.


I’ve been sewing.

Funny how leaving a project to rest in it’s box for weeks makes you forget what you had planned to do.  Funny how you somehow end up with the wrong collar on it when you’re done.


Funny how you like the thing anyway!


May the vest sewing commence

Project: Anorak vest
Pattern: Simplicity 2153, View F
Size: 12, altered
Fabric: Mystery fabric from stash


The supplies have all been gathered. The fabric has been cut.   The machines are threaded.  The new vest will look something like this:

I seem to remember that the fabric came from a clearance sale at The Sewing Studio last winter. I cannot recall any details, but I think I planned to make some sort of anti-rain garment from it.  I can’t imagine what I was hoping to sew with a yard and a half of the stuff.

Water resistant

I can’t imagine what circumstances might benefit from a water resistant vest, but you never know!  If a need arises, I’ll stay nice and dry.  ;-)

After reading through the reviews at, I decided to upscale my vest a bit by adding metal eyelets.  The stash turned up some nice 1/4″ antique brass ones complete with an applicator and instructions!

Love that.

Practice rivet

The pockets look really cute so far.  They are very similar to the pockets on my Ottobre Ms Marple coat. When I sew them on, they’ll gather along the top just like the Ottobre pockets.  I want some sort of tips to go on the ends of the drawstrings–I’m sure there’s something in the bead stash that will work.


So far so good!

Project #53: Faux Fur Vest

Project: Faux Fur Vest
Pattern: Modified Simplicity 2285
Size: 14 altered
Fabric:  Faux Fur Snow Lynx White/Brown from Fabric dot com lined with black bemberg

The vest was a lot of fun to make *and* to wear!  For the first time in I-don’t-know-when, I actually had my challenge project done well before the due date.

Those of you who keep up with fashion and pass along tidbits to the rest of us, informed me that fur was *in* this season.  Thank you.

I searched around various retail websites and found several inspiration vests that I liked.  One was this one, which came from, I believe:

Inspiration Photo 2

and this one which came from the same website and is part of a child’s outfit:

Inspiration photo 1

So.  My preferred vest features appear to be cheetah, center front separating zipper,  and high collar. First things first, I started looking for cheetah fur yardage and found…

nothing. had some nice faux furs, so I chose their Faux Fur Snow Lynx White/Brown. It had sort of a striped pattern to it.

Next (after ordering only one yard of the $$ not-on-sale fur)  I started looking for a pattern and found…


The closest pattern was (also not-on-saleSimplicity 2285, which had the collar and the general shape I liked but no zipper.  I found some vest patterns with princess seams plus a zipper, but I didn’t want to cut the fur that much.  Think about it–fur, seams, stripes.


The Simplicity pattern artwork looked better than it actually was.  (You are no doubt surprised by that revelation.)  In reality, it was a long box with the only shaping provided by the tie belt.  That might be fine for someone besides me–you know, somebody tall and thin.

I look better in a short, shapely pattern.

In the end, I shortened the thing three inches and added some shaping in the form of a bust dart and curved side seams. I considered putting in waist darts and decided I just couldn’t stand to deal with more seaming in the stuff.  Adding the zipper was enough of a pile-trimming nightmare.

(Once the trash went out, however, I didn’t lose anymore sleep over that issue.)

The belt is from some dark brown faux reptile knit that I had in my stash closet.

Now that it’s done, I love it:


You can see the shadow of the dart, but I don’t think it detracts from the vest’s appearance. Quite the contrary, in fact, considering what a box looks like on me.


When I laid out the pattern, I was careful to align the darker stripe with the center front and back.  The stripes were a good width for the vest, I think.


And of course, I used every fur tip I could recall:

  • draw the pattern onto the back of the fabric, rather than pinning
  • snip around the pattern with the tips of my scissors, being careful to avoid cutting the pile
  • trim the pile from the seam allowances before and/or after sewing
  • pick the pile out of the seams with a pin after the seams were sewn

The only photo of me wearing it is this group shot from the meeting on Saturday.  We had seven ladies to participate in the vest challenge–one of them left before I remembered to get a photo.  I wore it with my new McCall’s 6355 dress and my brown suede boots.

Sew Classic Vest challenge

I had so much fun with it, that I’m toying with the idea of making some other faux fur garment before you inform me that it is passé


Project: ASG Vest Challenge
Pattern: As-yet undetermined
Size: ??
Fabric: Faux Fur

The fur I ordered for my vest arrived yesterday. It’s the Faux Fur Snow Lynx White/Brown from Fabric dot com and looks like this in their photo: swatch

Nice, eh?  Of course I realized that it might not look just like that when it arrived on my doorstep.  Still, I had a vision and the colors were the closest I could find to what I wanted.

When the UPS guy dropped it off, I immediately tore into the box and I was speechless:


It’s gorgeous!  I even like the backing:

in the box showing backing

I plan to make a vest for my sewing group’s vest challenge next Saturday (10 days from now, not 3).  I confess I’m a little intimidated, but I’ve sewn with fake fur before and know how to work with it.

I’ve just never *worn* any.

I’ll jump right on it soon I’m sure.

When I get done petting it.

How’d she do that??

Polly asked for more details on how I changed my new vest to be the vest I envisioned, rather than the vest McCall’s envisioned. I’ll attempt to explain it without going into the roundabout story of rejected patterns, photo inspirations and front zippers and such. I’ll also spare you the rant I first typed about sewing wo/men not knowing their body lengths.

You don’t need to know what a harpy I can be sometimes…


So the style I wanted was armscye princess, button front, and tummy length, with front pockets and an even hemline. McCall’s 5186 was pretty close, though it lacked an even hemline and pockets.

Patch pockets are easy peasy. You only need figure out the size and placement. I simply cut a square of paper, held it up to the desired postion and looked in the mirror. I trimmed away at my paper until I was happy with the size, then added seam allowances and cut fabric.

The hem was a bit more complicated, but not much. First I had to know how long I wanted the finished vest to be.

I happen to know that my hip depth comes in at about 24 inches from the nape of my neck in back. (I say that like it’s magic or something…anyone who sews should know their preferred lengths.) I wanted the vest to end a couple of inches above my hip, but long enough to cover my cake storage facility.

That comes out to about 22 inches for the finished length. I checked the finished length on the back of the pattern envelope–I see that McCall’s is no longer providing finished garment measurements on new patterns (Boo! to you, McCall’s)–19 3/4″ for view C. I decided to use View C, the longest vest in the envelope, and add 2 inches in length.

I added to the bottom edge, since I wanted the vest to continue to flare out from the waist. I could not add at the shorten/lengthen lines because that might not allow the vest to flare out enough to cover my hips. I did my usual tissue fit at the end to be sure it was big enough at the hip without being ruffly at the bottom.

Tracing and Altering

Since the vest did not have an even hemline, I had to straighten the other pieces.

Original Pattern pieces

To straighten and make all the pieces the same length, I located the waistline on the back piece and measured along the seamline to the bottom. With that measurement, I located (as best I could) the waistline on the other pieces and extended them to the new length. The front piece was longer and pointy, so I had to square it off and subtract length to make it match.

Even with all the measuring, my back pieces came out a little longer than the front. I corrected that when I sewed. If I had walked the pattern’s seamlines, I would probably have noticed before I cut the fabric.

A muslin would have been the smart way to go… ;-)